Best Questions to Ask Consulting Clients in a Discovery Session

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Ask the right questions in your Consulting Discovery Session.

Everyone talks about how difficult it is to find and close new consulting clients. People marvel at “secret” closing techniques, words that magically turn prospects into clients.

But you won’t even get a chance, you won’t even get close to converting a new client, if you don’t know how to prepare for that first meeting and know the right questions to ask.

You need a guide to that first conversation with a prospect or new client. 

In a Discovery Session, your first meeting with a prospect or new client, you need the right structure and the best questions. If you look unprepared or ask naïve questions during the first meeting, there’s a good chance you won’t get another chance. (I've even heard about one corporate buyer who after hearing a naïve question or scripted close starts counting, "That's one! You only get three.") 

The Discovery Session is where you need to build rapport, know as much as possible about the situation before starting, understand the scope and depth of the problem, and ask investigative and impactful questions.

Obviously you should research as much online through Google, LinkedIn, and industry/trade papers prior to your Discovery Session. The worst thing you can do is ask naïve questions that show you aren't prepared, like

  • "Tell me about your market?"
  • "What's your principle product?"
  • "Who are your chief competitors?"

Answers to basic situation questions are often online. You should be digging into the deep issues, situation, and impact. If you don't have a solid background before the Discovery Session you are either in the wrong niche, or you do not value this prospect enough to do research.

A structure for your pre-research and live questions might go like this,

Situation, Issues, Objectives

  • Situation Drivers
  • Special Considerations
  • Meeting Objectives
  • Consulting Objective
  • Adjacent Niche Issues
  • Prospect/Client Goal


  • Discovery Questions (Broad, then deep)
  • Prior Solutions and Work
  • Causes and Sources

Vision and Hope

  • Impact
  • Value You Deliver
  • Potential Obstacles
  • Unique Value
  • Case Studies

The downloadable PDF has typeable fields so you can type your ideas and comments, send them as a PDF to your Smartphone, or print them for review prior to your meeting. If you are new or need a confidence boost, have this pre-flight checklist is a real power booster.

To get a proven structure with some of the best questions for your next Discovery Session download the Best Questions to Ask Consulting Clients in a Discovery Session worksheet.

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